Recently acknowledged as a 2021 Princess Grace Award Recipient in Choreography and nominated for two 2021 "Bessie" awards in Dance and Performance, JOHNNIE CRUISE MERCER is a queer-black think-maker, freelance-performer, educator, and social entrepreneur based in New York City. A native of Richmond, VA, Mercer holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University.
As the Company Director of TheREDprojectNYC, his processes/work have been shared and/or hosted by 92Y Harkness Dance Center, Gibney: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, Dixon Place, Danspace Project Inc, The Fusebox Festival, BAAD!, Abrons Arts Center, Mana Contemporary, La Mama Experimental Theater, The NADA Conference, Abrons Arts Center, and most recently The Clarice Performing Arts Center's The BlackLight Summit.
As an educator, Mr. Mercer facilitates within the New York Public School system through The Leadership Program—a mentorship-based organization that uses art to foster/engage restorative justice and motivate the true empowerment of self. Mercer has also been on teaching faculty/a guest artist at The American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, PRATT Institute, NYU Tisch, Gibney, University of Massachusetts Amherst, DeSales University, Muhlenberg College, The University of Texas at Austin, Virginia Commonwealth University, The University of Maryland, Harlem School of the Arts, and The Dance Institute of Washington. Johnnie is currently on faculty at Sarah Lawrence College.
Most recently Johnnie has had the honor of being a 2019-2021 Artist-in-Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, a 2020-2021 Ping Chong and Company Creative Fellow, and a 2020-2021 Artist-In-Residence through New Dance Alliance’s Black Artists Space to Create Residency curated by Angie Pittman. He is currently a 2022 Artist-in-Residence at Center for Performance Research.
Follow him (and his company) on Instagram to find out more about his current projects and works. @johnniecruisemercer or @jcm_redprojectnyc
Photo by Sarah Silver.